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White House Showcases Disaster Response Tools

Government encourages collaboration between tech, first responder communities.

The White House hosted a demonstration day July 29 to showcase new technologies and tools being developed to empower local and state first responders, agencies, and citizens to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.

The projects are an outgrowth of the Obama administration's Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative, started in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to identify ways technology could be used to improve information and make better use of resources.

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"The technology by itself doesn't help anyone," Brian Forde, senior adviser to the US CTO at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), tells InformationWeek. "Our goal is for emergency managers and first responders to go back to their communities and share the tools that will be most useful to their unique circumstances."

Among the tools demonstrated was GeoQ, an open source tool created by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and MITRE that facilitates the crowdsourcing of image analysis in a disaster area, incorporating images from multiple sources, such as smartphones, television broadcasts, and government satellites. The code for GeoQ is available through GitHub, to encourage developers to improve the software.

[ Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek. ]

Washington-based Patience Wait contributes articles about government IT to InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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